MOVIE PAGE PICK: INDEPENDENCE DAY
Smith Capt. Steven Hiller
Bill Pullman President Thomas J. Whitmore
Jeff Goldblum David Levinson
Mary McDonnell Marilyn Whitmore
Judd Hirsch Julius Levinson
Margaret Colin Constance Spano
Randy Quaid Russell Casse
Robert Loggia General William Grey
Harvey Fierstein Marty Gilbert
Harry Connick Jr. Capt. Jimmy Wilder
James Rebhorn Secretary of Defense Albert
Adam Baldwin Maj. Mitchell
Brent Spiner Dr. Brakish Okun
Bill Smitrovich Capt. Watson
James Duval Miguel Casse
Vivica Fox Jasmine Dubrow
Lisa Jakub Alicia Casse
Mae Whitman Patricia Whitmore
Directed by Roland Emmerich. Screenplay by Roland
Emmerich and Dean Devlin. 1996. Running
time: 145 Minutes.
once remarked that the more interesting people in the music
industry arent the musicians, but the people behind the
scenes the marketers and managers. These are the real
creative ones he argued. The band members and musicians are
actually the dull and uninteresting ones. To a large extent this
is true of Hollywood as well. Nowadays the marketing exercise and
the resultant hype before a movies actual release are a lot
more interesting than the movie itself. Ever felt the trailer was
better than the film itself? Then you know what Im talking
about . . .
one case in Hollywood, the men behind the scenes and the men
ultimately responsible for the end product itself are one in the
same. Im talking of course about the creative team of
Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin who has delivered so many
blockbusters recently StarGate and Independence
that Hollywood has entrusted them with supervising the
pre-publicity of their films beforehand. They decide which
trailers are released when, what the posters should look like,
what interviews should be given and so forth beforehand. No
matter what you may think of StarGate and Independence
Day, I dont use the word "creative" lightly.
When it comes to hype, Emmerich and Devlin are the masters.
Witness the current feverish anticipation of Godzilla . .
In the end
nowhere is this more apparent than with Independence Day,
another case of "yeah, but the trailer was better." And
it was! Audiences cheered at the sight of the White House being
blown up by alien invaders. In fact, the advertising was so good
that it managed to convince one participant at a newsgroup that
the movie couldnt be bad in spite of what other
people in the newsgroup was saying even though he
hadnt seen the movie himself yet! Convincing people
that a movie cant possibly be bad, even though they
havent seen it themselves? Emmerich and Devlin missed their
call in life: Im sure they could have made a bigger fortune
at Madison Square than where they are now . . .
Independence Day so bad? Well, to be honest the special
effects werent as good as a lot of people made it out to
be. Also, if only the film were as clever as its prerelease
publicity! Despite the narrow-minded American patriotism of the
movie (for an extended discussion read the June
Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick of the Month), the
film is awash in stupidities:
spaceship about a "fourth the size of the moon"
we are informed is approaching the earth. Does its
gravitational pull cause tidal waves like an object of
that size would? Noooo . . .
Jeff Goldblum character discovers that the aliens are in
fact using earth satellite transmissions to time their
eventual attack. Why they should do this is unclear
dont they have their own equipment?
only that, but the Goldblum character is able to predict when
they would attack. Very weird that: that aliens from
another solar system would be using minutes and hours
like we do. I suppose that their planet by some
incredible coincidence also takes 365 days or so to
revolve around their sun . . .
only way aliens, which have the technology to have
traveled what must be thousands of light-years, have of
destroying something is by hovering a few kilometers
right above it and then firing its lasers. I suppose that
technological progress doesnt necessarily mean that
one should develop guided missiles before discovering
interstellar flight . . .
aliens with the resources to move a spaceship "one
fourth the size of the moon" between stars would be
interested in the mineral wealth the earth has to offer.
Can these aliens even spell "economic
then theres ultimate unlikelihood: that aliens this
sufficiently advanced would fall for a scheme so
half-baked as the one hatched by the Goldblum character.
Not to mention the fact that they use software compatible
with 20th century software . . .
thats just a few of the plot holes and idiocies Independence
Day foisted upon moviegoers. We wont even be going be
into the various characters and their travails or as to why no
one seems particularly perturbed by a huge chunk of the
planets population and cities being blasted to smithereens
. . .
© December 1997 James O'Ehley/The
Sci-Fi Movie Page